We've all experienced some sort of inflammation in our lives - whether it be a splinter in the finger, a cut toe, or congestion from having caught a cold.
But it is the symptoms of gut inflammation that seem to be the hardest to attribute to the underlying condition, and to manage on an on-going basis. Read on for some practical tips that everyone can do to help manage inflammation today.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is basically the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. The irritant might be a germ, bacteria, virus, wound or foreign object (acute inflammation) or an on-going cell inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis or gut inflammations such as IBS (chronic inflammation).
The inflammation process occurs when your white blood cells protect you from infection from these outside invaders as your body tries to fight against the irritant.
Inflammation can show any of these signs: redness, heat, pain, swelling, loss of function. Examples of a loss of function include not being able to move an inflamed joint properly, having a worse sense of smell during a cold, finding it more difficult to breathe when you have bronchitis, fatigue, or abdominal pain. Some inflammations occur “silently” and don’t cause any symptoms.
Inflammation can occur anywhere in the body and may trigger any number of chronic diseases, depending on the area of the body affected.
Inflammation of the Gut
Gut inflammation can cause many unwanted health symptoms, from chronic constipation and fatigue to irregular periods, diarrhoea, or weight loss.
Chronic gut inflammation may be caused by celiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease, where the lining of the digestive system becomes inflamed. 2 types of such inflammation are Chron’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis.
These may be caused by many factors, such as diet, smoking, medications, composition of gut bacteria, or leaky gut. A few changes to your diet and lifestyle, however, might just be the key to helping you improve your gut health and control these symptoms.
10 Ways to Reduce the Symptoms of Inflammation
Usually we know when we are experiencing acute inflammation, as it is visible or the pain can be pinpointed (e.g. a cut, wound or if we have a cold or sinus infection).
If you experience any symptoms that feel unexplained, they could be due to chronic inflammation, and to help with this you can follow an anti-inflammatory diet & lifestyle to help relieve the symptoms.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
Avoiding or quitting smoking
Daily exercise (or at least three to five times per week)
Limiting your alcohol intake
Managing stress with healthy tools such as meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises, and getting good night’s sleep